This year, I’m going to be thankful for the chaos. And this year, I will be thankful in the midst of the chaos.
I will be thankful for a too-warm house packed with people. I will be thankful for the mess of flour and sticky, frosting-licked fingers when we bake. I will be grateful for the wonky cookies, rolled out with hands just learning. I will be thankful for the pure noise—the talking, the singing, the shouting, the arguing. I will be thankful for traveling, sleeping on stiff mattresses, and scrounging for coffee when the kids wake up at the crack of dawn.
I will be thankful for the chaos because this chaos is the stuff of life. It means people surround me, my people, who I love so deeply. It means we’re making memories and messes together. It means we’re talking (a lot and always over each other) with each other. It means we’re laughing with each other. It means we’re in this together. It means we are together. What more could I ask for? Isn’t messy togetherness what life is all about? I want to appreciate that. I don’t want to miss the life happening in those moments.
And I’m not going to just be thankful for the chaos. I will be grateful while I’m in the chaos this year. Every year when I look back, I notice that the stress of the chaotic moments tends to fade into the background of the memories. I don’t remember cleaning up the fine layer of flour coating everything in my kitchen. I remember my girls wearing goofy chef hats and aprons and giggling while they baked. I don’t know how many times I checked on the turkey, face sweaty, squatting in front of the oven. I remember how proud I felt when it turned out okay (oven bags for the win!). I don’t know how many times my kids asked if we were at their grandparents’ house yet. I do remember the hugs when we finally arrived.
In every moment, I have a choice. I can be stressed (which seems to be my default emotion), or I can be thankful. I can see beyond the chaos of the moment to see the beauty of my family, together, loving, and being loved. I don’t think this will come easily to me. But I think it will be very much worth my effort.